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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Black Welcome Week unifies AU’s black community

Black student organizations host a variety of social events from Sept. 9-15

AU’s first annual Black Welcome Week was held Sept. 9 through 15 and was co-sponsored by more than 10 black clubs and organizations on campus. 

The week was designed to strengthen and develop unity in the black community on campus, with events ranging from a professional student and faculty mixer, to a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and an open mic night. 

AU juniors Kyle Bardell and Fatmata Kamara, who founded Black Welcome Week, said the idea came up during a “late-night MGC rant session.” All of the planning and coordinating took place over the summer in order to be ready for the beginning of the fall semester. 

“We wanted to showcase various parts of the black community on campus for freshmen while also allowing a sort of reunion for the current students,” said Bardell. “We picked these events, for we believed they displayed major parts of the community.”

The founders hope that Black Welcome Week will continue to be a way to unite the community at the start of each semester and welcome freshmen. 

Students say the collaboration that brought Black Welcome Week together made the week possible and will also serve as a jumping-off point for creating a more connected community.

“What's beautiful about it is that all 16 black student organizations will be participating in the week's events in one capacity or another,” said Sarah Duval, the founder of AU’s Black Pre-Professional Society. 

Kamara said that she's proud that the week was entirely student-led, and that almost all of the planning was run by black students. 

“It’s something for the community by the community,” said Kamara. “Who else would know the things that black students want besides black students?”

Duval said that the space Black Welcome Week provided allowed students to thrive in a comfortable space and be their “authentic selves and break bread with one another.” 

Kamara said that she hopes the week expands in the future and becomes a way for the community to come together and support each other. 

“We're only 9 percent [of the student body], so we really should support each other as much as we can,” Kamara said. “It's better for us to support each other and be there for each other.” 

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